Question for Board Regulars

I’ve posted on here a few times but I was wondering a few things and was hoping some of you might be able to help – sorry for another “need help” post. I was getting ready to start the CFA program but am starting to think I might not have the work requirements and that it may not really help me in my career path. My initial thought process was that it was a nice designation to have and would be a nice resume screener in the future. A quick background on me is top 50 undergrad finance degree, top 25 MBA in finance, worked as senior financial analyst, senior analyst in M&A / corporate development group, and now a manger in a strategic planning and finance group at a consumer finance company. That said, I am not interested in jobs in the capital markets space, my goal is eventually to be a CFO at some point but would like to continue working in M&A or a strategy role. My question is whether the CPA would be better suited for me. I can go back to where I got my MBA from and take more accounting classes to fullfill the requirements and then sit for the exam and dependant upon how many acct classes I take might help me get a Masters in Accountancy. I’m definately not the home-study guy, I’m also married with a new child so I don’t want to spend 50 hours a week studying, you guys seem much more dedicated than I. Anyway, any comments would be appreciated.

for CFO role you would normally need CA/CPA. CFA is not that valued in CFOs, and needs herculean home-study commitment.

You seem fairly far along your career path, and if you’re set on doing what you’re doing, I don’t think the CFA is such a big deal. It’s a big commitment, and if you already feel like you might not have the heart to do it, my suggestion is don’t worry about it. Maybe it’ll give you some incremental benefit in terms of having more financial acumen. However, you’ll eventually be able to learn whatever you need on the job itself. Besides, if you’re a star at what you do, you don’t need the CFA charter, and having the charter won’t make you a star either. However I don’t see the CFA making or breaking your life, and obviously you don’t either – otherwise you wouldn’t be asking the question. Ultimately, it’s up to each person how they value the tradeoff between time vs. the CFA charter, but it’s definitely a big sacrifice. The reason you’re probably asking this question is because you feel bad about the prospect of flaking out of the program. If it makes you feel any better, I passed level I and that’s about as far in the program I’m going to get. I don’t see the CFA charter dramatically enhancing my career, and my time will be better spent dedicating myself to my job and learning the things that I actually need to know, rather than preoccupy myself with gathering knowledge of less relevant things like CDO’s, CMO’s, and SIV’s just so that I can pass some exams (although I’m sure I’ll become more familiar with the aforementioned vocabulary if my job gets swallowed up in the credit crunch…ouch) Anyway, those are my two cents – hope this helps

Thanks to both of you guys. Numi, what are your thoughts about a CPA and me based on what you’ve read?

jmerten Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Thanks to both of you guys. > > Numi, what are your thoughts about a CPA and me > based on what you’ve read? jmerten - from what I can tell, you seem like a pretty good guy. CPA - if you see yourself with CFO-type aspirations or might work as part of a finance group within a corporation, this might be the better thing to go for, based on what i’ve heard and what i’ve seen among the CFO’s in the industry i cover. however, i’m no expert on the CPA so i’ll have to defer to the other people on this board.

I did an intership a few years back in the financial planning division of a fortune 50 company. The CFO of the company had a CPA, as did many of the senior and junior managers. I didn’t know anybody with the CFA designation.